Monday, May 30, 2011

Does It All Make Sense?

                 GCNP Boundary: Differing visions, evolving story.
                        A schematic attempt to pull it all together

I. Fixation on the Powell-Harrison Big Hole, from the 1880's 
    A. Vision:  "The Most Spectacular … ", to 1919
1. Right Religion, Wrong  Church, 1882-93
2. Recognition, 1890's
3. T.R., almost a hero, 1902-8
4. The Park, To Everybody's Profit, 1910's

GCNP boundary: Legislative Dead-end; 1957-66 (added to, 12 Apr 2012)

Secretary of the Interior F.K.Lane, at the time the Park was established: "It seems to be universally acknowledged that the Grand Canyon is the most stupendous natural phenomenon in the world. Certainly it is the finest example of the power and eccentricity of water erosion, and as a spectacle of sublimity, it has no peer."

That was the rhetoric for 1920: The 1950's were different. So what happened to this very bureaucratic attempt to patch and mend the Park and Monument?

Jan 1957: Local grazing board approves of eliminations
Feb: Letters indicating interest, and worry, of conservation organizations, Izaac Walton, Sierra Club, Desert Protective Council.
BLM reported there was considerable uranium prospecting in the general area. Deletions would be good for grazing, but they will not satisfy the local operators, and they will continue to demand additional restoration; we agree. "Sportsmen" were increasingly opposed to Parks, but most of land is now in Game Preserve, so little effect. [My comment: A strange point. As I wrote in a 3 Dec 2009 entry, this Preserve had no teeth, and was only a gov't declaration of its interest in wildlife.]
Mar: State Game & Fish Dep't worried about not being able to kill deer; NPS replies that there are few even hunted in the additions; deletions are more suitable for hunters.

Apr: Correspondence with Goldwater pointing to difficulties arising from the uncertainty over Bridge Canyon dam. 
Reclamation region suggested deleting Kanab addition because of its effect on the tunnel scheme as shown in House Doc. 419, 80th Congress, 1st session. Otherwise the power project would be in the Park.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

GCNP boundary: Tinkering & fussing; 1952-6

There was a stirring on boundary thinking when Regional Director Tillotson recommended in Oct 1952 that a study be prepared that would include all modifications in one bill.  New Director Wirth agreed in Jun 1953, saying that your view should be of long time requirements assuming "very much greater use", and not just present-day demands. Analyze scenic, scientific, historic, conservation, and administrative values. Assume a dam built to elevation 1877'. But note that proposals made in recent years for moving the boundary to get it away from the upper end of the reservoir "might constitute a more dangerous and damaging precedent than would encroachment". Moreover, if there are areas in that region that have Park quality, recommend them. Your study should be made based on the quality of the area and the lands needed for conservation and best use by the public. "If compromises must be made, they should be made, of course, at the Departmental and Congressional levels of responsibility and not by the Services's field party." 

It is worth remembering that Tillotson did not want to fight Reclamation on its demands, and perhaps he thought that Wirth would be more amenable to his point of view than Drury. However, although the latter was gone, Wirth had been present when Drury convinced the Secretary to make Reclamation back off the Kanab tunnel. Of course, it is true that Wirth's main contribution was the large-scale NPS development plan in its Mission 66. Still, while Bridge Canyon dam was on hold through the 1950's, this was also the period of the fight to keep dams out of Dinosaur National Monument, although that effort was led by forces external to government. Bryant was still sup't, and would be to March 1954, Tillotson dying a year later. And of course, since 1953, there had been a new federal administration, and the new Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater, had a personal knowledge and experience of the Canyon. All in all, the mid-'50's could have been a chance to take a good, hard look at how the Park System should treat the Grand Canyon, or a chance to duck one's head. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ingram Events Journal, 1966-8, part 1; added to 6/3/11

December 1965, the Sierra Club Executive Committee had approved hiring me as the Club's first Southwest Regional Representative. Although I did not keep a journal then, I have been able to extract from my files a kind of record of events during those crucial years of the fight to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon. As a break from the NPS-focussed GCNP story of the 1950's, I will formalize that record here, although the mix of memory and scraps of paper makes for a "reader beware" exercise. And I expect that I will need to revise this as time goes on. First, how did I get there? 

Made a passionate devotee by the Grand Canyon in 1962, I went in early November 1964 to a Santa Fe conference hosted by the new Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club. I found compatriots with far more knowledge of what was needed to defend the Canyon, including the Club's Executive Director, David Brower, there with his wife, and Eliot Porter, the photographer, whose book of Glen Canyon, The Place No One Knew, was an eloquent headstone not to let similar destruction come to "the place everyone knows". Somehow, conversation led to an invitation to lunch from this inspiring group. Inspired, yes; I then spent much of the next year learning about how to fight Reclamation and its dam plans. At the second Santa Fe conference a year later, Brower was there again. We chatted and his ideas about expanding the Club's reach by hiring regional representatives led me to ask what such people did. He filled a page with a list of duties and challenges for a Southwest position, and at the bottom, wrote, "Are you interested?" Silly question. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

GCNP boundary: To tidy up. 1940's-57. (edited 17 May 2011, 10-1 Apr 2012)

Throughout the posts of 2011, I have tried to develop a story of the Park Service looking westward from the 1919 Grand Canyon National Park itself. Although there was no over-arching agency plan, and only a few presented a view of the entire Canyon in its Park-worthiness, nevertheless, by 1964 and the LMNRA Act, there had been extensive investigations leading to some kind of recognition for the Canyon from Nankoweap to the Grand Wash Cliffs. However, this story is probably misleading. The center for NPS at the Canyon was in Grand Canyon Village (as it still is). It was here that the overwhelming majority of people came to visit, and where administrators' attention (and dollars) were mostly fixed. For NPS, the 1919 Park had had its boundary changed in 1929, but not entirely satisfactorily. So even without an overall view of the entire Canyon, GCNP staff was accumulating a little list of fixes. The studies done during World War II on the Colorado River Basin  also stirred things up. 

Havasupai Regrets; Hualapai Comparisons

I have been asked whether I regret my role in the 1972-5 effort to enlarge GCNP insofar as it entailed a defense of the Park vis a vis the successful campaign to repatriate some of the Havasupai's pre-1880 lands. Indeed I do have regrets.

I regret that an extensive, plateau-including Havasupai reserve was not set up in 1880. Imagine, given that they were never pushed & pulled or battered (compare with the Hualapai and Southern Paiute), the Havasupai would have had a chance to have maintained their seasonally oriented life. Whatever might have been the effect on later Park boundaries, I regret that the responsible USArmy officers, the whitefollk miners, and even the Havasupai themselves did not see their way clear to set up the same sort of reserve that those officers were at that moment establishing for the Hualapai. And which took 90 more years for Congress to create.

(And of course I regret there was no National Park from the Powell-Harrison proposals of the 1880's. And suppose there had been, and a decent Havasupai res, too? How about this for a fantasy:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

System clash; spinning some thoughts

Franicis Fukuyama has written for decades as an expounder of neo-conservatism, though during the Bush debacles, he re-thought some of the conclusions that old-fashioned line of thought led to, with accompanying actions (aggression/invasion of Iraq). His reputation is that of an erudite political intellectual, an academy-based explorer of socio-politico-culturo-economo ideas. His latest book The Origins of Political Order  (I will use FF) grapples with the whole sweep of human history. (Though I want to say right at the start, not with the consciousness of a "history of humanity" that infuses J. Diamond's work.) He makes connections into non-human behaviors, and from there, offers thoughts about primate/hominid/early human(homo sapiens) organization. 

Continuing into the last 100 millennia, he writes about family, band, and tribal structures and how they bear on human's developing sense of ways to deal with the frictions and difficulties of a social animal. He spends time on Hobbes/Locke/Rousseau, and with the anthropologists. Sadly, his viewpoint is that of the whitefolk academic, a product of the proud European tradition that we are what evolution has been aiming at all the time: an excellent, and the best, civilization anybody could imagine. He makes the incredible error of thinking that one can think about "primitive" human social structures, when such arrangements disappeared tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years ago. More on this later.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Locked Up in Multiple Use: The Lake Mead Act, 1950-64

Lake Mead gained in popularity as a recreation destination after World War II. Debate over its legitimacy faded. However, reservoir use west of Grand Wash and Congressional action on Bridge Canyon dam were suspended. What NPS staff at LMNRA wanted was a permanent status spelling out how they were to administer it. Tillotson, with his doubts, remained as Regional Director until 1955.

March 1952, an application for a sawmill on the Shivwits plateau was passed on to the Director. who said that though multiple uses were allowed, they should not be in conflict with recreation potential. In this case, neither water nor the ponderosa were abundant, so the application should be denied, given that recreation development is probable in not too distant a future (given likelihood of Bridge being built). Tillotson grumbled that the Shivwits area was too large. Also, NPS could not protect it from fire, which would be embarrassing if cutting were denied. He then told the Sup't to prepare a new boundary study, limiting the area of the Shivwits included to access points and heads of canyons. Justify, he added, any necessity to retain land very carefully. 

Naturalist Grater visited Mt Dellenbaugh's vicinity and Whitmore Point in August. His Sep 1952 report was enthusiastic [as all such reports were] about the potential of the Sanup and Whitmore-Parashont-Andrus esplanades for visitor use, offering "numerous vistas and science features on a magnificant scale". However, the Shivwits offered nothing of unusual value, though there was a considerable amount of ponderosa and other plants not otherwise found. The Sanup was a complete biological unit, and could support homesites and year-round recreation facilities. This was also true of the Uinkarets mountains. LMNRA's ranger chief visited the Dame sawmill near Green Springs. Fire control not being really a serious problem, the staff consensus was that no change in the boundary was needed. Ample land remained for private development. The southern end of the Shivwits would be most suitable for recreation. The sup't was concerned, Nov 1952, that cutting be very selective; reproduction of pine was slow, and they were valuable in place, but he approved since development would be years away, and change should wait until Bridge dam authorized. (Logging seems to have taken place from about 1950.) Tillotson passed this on to the Director: legislation would be far in the future, and we should concentrate on administering a recreation function. Apr 1953, the Director agreed on no change.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A western fight -- no guns, only principles, 1945-7 (added to, 4/10/12)

As 1944 ended, Regional Director Tillotson sent Ben Thompson to the Lake Mead area to "clear up" boundary matters. He might have become impatient with the many investigations and less action; he may have been concerned about Reclamation's activism on Bridge Canyon; perhaps he saw an end to wartime and wanted to settle this long-pending issue. In any case, LM Sup't Rose also had hopes, that settling Boulder Canyon NRA issues would ease local hostility.